Ministry during COVID19
Communities of Faith in Chinook Winds Region are finding innovative ways to continue ministry since closing down public worship. We would like to highlight a few stories below. We’d be interested in sharing your story also. Please email Shelley
Ralph Connor United Church, Canmore
As with many places, all in-person church activities at Ralph Connor Memorial United Church, Canmore have been discontinued, including Sunday Worship and Wednesday Evensong. Our Council met via Zoom last week, and will do so again – it went well. A phone fan-out system has been set up, with “Care Contact” callers connecting all congregants and “Care Couriers” doing any necessary errands. CYAN – our outreach Ministry for young adults – has moved its Wednesday Yoga sessions online, at their Canmore Young Adult Network – CYAN Facebook page. Efforts are being coordinated with St. Andrew’s United Church in Cochrane to help alleviate emergency needs at Morley.
And… we have now launched a YouTube channel (Ralph Connor Canmore) so we can upload a Worship service each week. This service is recorded in the participants’ homes, then put into a dropbox so that our video editor can knit it together into a service. We feel that this models social distancing – leading worship together without leaving home. Check out our Channel
Prairie Winds Pastoral Charge, Vulcan, Alberta
We are using zoom for bible study, check-ins with prayer and scripture and we launched worship on zoom on Sunday.
We set up team captains-each captain has the name of 6 or 7 congregants to check in with on a regular basis to ask about any needs they may have, to keep them informed about the church and to be a friendly voice for mental health relief. We still want to stay connected anyway possible. We do phone calls because not everyone is online.
We also have daily emails with a prayer and scripture along with faith formation ideas for families to do during this time.
Sunnybrook United Church, Red Deer, AB
Rev. Ross Smillie prepared an overview planning document for Sunnybrook’s Church Council to look at revamping its ministry in the weeks to come. Check out Reinventing Church for a Period of Social Distancing
Ministry in Other Places
Some ministry personnel are using social media to hold weekly prayer times. Rev. David Pollard (above), Fifth Avenue Memorial United in Medicine Hat, encourages congregants to light a candle in their window at 8 pm weekday evenings and join him for prayer on Facebook. On Monday night, his son and daughter, Ed and Kate, joined David as prayer time wound up. Rev. Trevor Potter, McKillop United, Lethbridge offers Spiritual Practices for Tough Times on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 am in addition to live streaming Sunday Worship. Other churches are sending out printed prayers to congregants. Also, others have used telephone fan-outs to congregation members and in the process pinpointed people who needed assistance with grocery purchases.
Chinook Winds’ Indigenous Ministries Resource Tony Snow has a great turn out for the first two online sessions of Seven Sacred Teachings on Tuesday night. Seven Sacred Teachings will take place at 7 pm on Tuesdays, March 31 and April 7.
To register for one of these free sessions, please send an email to Chris Mah Poy and you will receive an invitation to join the session via the online application, Zoom.